Why Wet Wood Doesn’t Work

In recent weeks, you may have seen people talking about making sure your firewood is below 20% moisture. If you don’t already know what that means, this can seem a little confusing, especially if the wood looks and feels dry to the touch and an expert is telling you it’s not.

What 20% Moisture Actually Means

It’s possible for a log to be over 100% on this scale – which happens when the log is so soaked that if you separated the water and the wood, the water would way more than the log. So a log isn’t ready to burn if there’s more than 1/5 as much water in it as the weight of the log. But what does ‘not ready to burn’ mean?

Making Sure Your Logs Are Ready to Burn

If the wood in your hand is dry to the touch, thinking it’s ready to burn is a simple mistake. In fact, most wood that feels dry is still ‘wet wood’, and will give off more smoke. More smoke means more pollutants – bad for the environment and potentially bad for your health. If you’re managing smoke with a chimney, burning wet wood can cause creosote build-up in the chimney, creating long-term problems for years to come. On top of all this, wet wood burns less efficiently, so you get less heat! There are two main ways to dry wood before it burns. You can kiln or oven dry it – baking the moisture out – or ‘season’ it by leaving it somewhere dry but exposed to the air for, well, seasons at a time (usually 1-2 years). Both can be difficult to arrange doing at home, though, and that’s why we offer kiln dried logs and seasoned logs ready to burn. If you’re not sure which would be best for your needs, why not ask? We’re always keen to talk to wood fire lovers.
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